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Sep 072010

From Green Right Now Reports

The road ahead looks welcoming for green automobiles, according to an Autobytel.com survey of potential car buyers.

More than half (about 57 percent) of those responding to the mid-summer survey of 2,000 people reported they were either definitely, likely or possibly going to buy a green car in the next year.

Respondents most often cited economics and better gas mileage as their main reason (the two were presented together as “Economics, better gas mileage”) for seeking greener cars.

Autobytel survey reveals more than half will be looking at green car purchases over the next year.

Concerns for the environment also figured prominently in the respondent’s answers. Thirty-nine percent said they would be buying a greener vehicle because it was “environmentally responsible” or would be “reducing dependence on foreign oil.”

Autobytel sees the survey as revealing the deepest green streak among younger car buyers. One in four of those under age 25 said they were “definitely” considering purchasing an alternative fuel or high mileage vehicle within the next year, and over half said that environmental factors would affect their decision.

Other findings about younger buyers:

  • 73% are actively considering a green vehicle purchase within the next twelve months (versus 56% for those over 25).
  • Environmental factors (such as pollution levels and global warming) impact their likelihood to purchase a green vehicle (53%) versus 44% for over 25.
  • Over 80% “intend to purchase” or “might consider buying” a green vehicle in the next two to five years versus 75% over 25.

The survey, the basis for Autobytel’s “What’s Hot Now” report, is good news for manufacturers of hybrids, said Autobytel CEO Jeff Coats.

“Consumers are interested in being fiscally and environmentally responsible when considering their next vehicle purchase,” he said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Autobytel helps car buyers research and find vehicles and related products through it’s network of websites, such as Car.comsm and CarSmart.com®.

Mar 252010

By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

The 2010 Volkswagen Golf  TDI is a taut, tidy example of Teutonic car making. And the clean burning, turbo-charged diesel engine delivers impressive fuel economy that reduces your carbon footprint while still delivering plenty of what we like to call smiles per gallon.

VW Golf TDI 4-door

VW Golf TDI 4-door

The Golf – once known as the Rabbit – has been redesigned for 2010 and sports a new front end design that includes a wider, double-bar grille. The look is sleeker, a bit more elegant, but it still looks like a Golf.

The interior is very nice, featuring good ergonomics, good materials and craftsmanship. This is a nicer interior than typically found in compact cars.  The eight-way manually adjustable sports seats offer the driver and front seat passenger a fine perch. The rear seat is comfortable for two, not so much for three. Rear legroom is best described as “OK.”

There isn’t much storage in the cabin, but the center console provides a deep dish to toss change and a cell phone. The rear cargo area accessible by the hatchback has 15 cubic feet.

Safety equipment includes electronic stability control, six airbags and optimized front head restraints.

What sets the Golf apart from other fuel thrifty compact cars is that it is darn fun to drive. Handling is solid, steering crisp. Everything feels tight.

The 2-liter diesel engines produces 140 horsepower and 236 lbs.-ft. of torque. That means plenty of pull when clicking through the six-speed stick shift. VW says the zero to 60 mph time is 8.6 seconds but it sure feels faster.

It’s fun to drive and the Golf TDI also gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 41 mpg on the highway – 30 percent better than its gasoline sibling. We got 36 mpg in a mix of driving. The diesel emits 25 percent less greenhouse gas compared to a similar gasoline engine.

The Golf TDI starts at $22,590, about $3,000 more than it’s gasoline powered counterpart.

Copyright © 2010 Green Right Now | Distributed by GRN Network

Sep 142009

By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

A small price tag and big fuel economy are the principal attractions of the Toyota Yaris, but the new-this-year five-door liftback version has other charms. Take, for example, not one, not two, but three glove boxes, including one behind the steering wheel.

The four-door hatchback joins a two-door hatchback and a four-door sedan among the versions of the subcompact Yaris. Also new this year for all three body styles are an anti-lock brake system, front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear curtain side airbags as standard equipment.

The Yaris is powered – although powered may be too strong a word – by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower. It’s not as weak as it sounds. The engine, mated with a four-speed automatic transmission, provides plenty of power to merge onto freeway traffic.  (And crash ratings are new models are good.) If you’re looking for thrills, you’re not looking at a Yaris to start with. What people looking at a Yaris will be looking for is good fuel economy. And they will find it. The EPA fuel economy estimate is 29 miles per gallon in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway.

Steering is light, good for parking lots, but too light for anything over 15 mph. There is little road feel coming through the steering wheel.

While the Yaris is small – the liftback’s wheelbase is 96.9 inches, five inches shorter than that of a Toyota Corolla – the cabin is quite roomy for four adults, with plenty of rear legroom. A 60/40 split rear seat that slides, reclines, and folds completely flat provides nearly 26 cubic feet of cargo room. It’s easy to slide in the box containing a 32-inch flat-screen television.

The Yaris liftback starts as low as $13,305, but most buyers will certainly want the Power Package that includes power door locks, windows, and mirrors and the fold-flat rear seats. The test car, which also had remote keyless entry ($230), had a sticker price of $16,505.

There are now a lot of cars in that price range, but the Yaris is worth checking out if you don’t want to spend a lot of money now or later.

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media